‘Save Our Skins’ Campaign Aims to Educate Through Stories, Told from the Perspective of 3 Endangered Species

Coming just in time for Earth Day, Earthjustice is releasing a new viral campaign to educate the public about congressional measures that will put a strain on the environment and several species of endangered animals. Earthjustice, the renown non-profit public interest law firm dedicated to protecting the Earth and its resources, is using social media to personify three animals that have been threatened by a number of anti-wildlife legislation tactics: the gray wolf, the salmon, and the polar bear. Earthjustice launched the Save Our Skins

Among the many contentious issues surrounding the passage of Congress’ current budget bill are a series of anti-wildlife proposals that would strip Endangered Species protections for the gray wolf, expand offshore oil drilling in the Arctic that could harm the polar bear habitat, and take away water intended to restore rapidly declining salmon runs. Sadly, all three of these species are already struggling to survive: Polar bears live in some of the harshest conditions on Earth and are now being hit by climate change; salmon must fight their way past dams and irrigation pumps just as more and more of their water is siphoned off for human use; and wolves were slaughtered to the brink of extinction until recovery efforts in the 1990s pulled them back from the edge. Species like these three are amazing, iconic species that represent the very best of America’s great untamed wilderness. To lose these animals is to lose an essential part of America’s greatness.

To get the word out, Save Our Skins is more than just a petition; it’s a chance for the soapbox to be given to the animals themselves. As part of the campaign, each creature will share their daily adventures and trials on a personal Twitter account. Recognizing the importance of making the campaign appealing and sharable, the social media-savvy animals combine wit with real facts and emotion to state their case; from the swaggering, Chuck Norris-like gray wolf who likes to see steam coming out of his nostrils on a cold day, to the neurotic and painfully naïve salmon who is unaware of the fact that people appreciate salmon mostly as a delicious entrée. The result is a quirky cast of characters with a message that hits close to home.

Save Our Skins serves to iterate just how little the wolf, salmon, and polar bear ask for -- they just want a chance to live. All three are resilient creatures who did not survive this long just to have politicians put their existence up for a vote. Please help us get the word out about this vital issue by sending a letter to Senators Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell. Earthjustice aims to send 37,000 letters telling Congress that we oppose these attacks on the ESA, and we need you to help us reach our goal! These animals deserve to be on this earth as much as the rest of us: extinction is not an option.

You can make your voice heard by sending a letter to Senators Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell! Click here

Be sure to follow all the animals on Twitter, and click here to tweet:
campaign to reach out to the public via popular social media channels, such as Twitter and Youtube, and ask them to pressure Congress by getting in touch with representatives capable of bringing change. to send a pre-written letter or to write your own message.
Check out Earthjustice on Twitter and Facebook for the latest news.

Earthjustice is a nonprofit environmental law firm dedicated to protecting the magnificent places and wildlife of this earth and defending the right of all people to a healthy environment.
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Resource: Offers.com saving time and money

Offers.com helps consumers save time and money by sorting through thousands of promos, coupons and deals to bring the web's the best offers onto one site, organized by category, store or company. 
  • Leading Stores and Companies: If you can buy it online, you'll probably find it on Offers.com. The site is currently featuring over 14,000 offers from 3,000+ companies and stores.
  • Categories: Offers are organized into 190 categories, from Travel to Clothing & Shoes, to Computers & Networking, to Home & Kitchen and Credit Cards.
  • Types of Offers: The site features every form of savings opportunity including online coupons, coupon codes, free shipping coupons, clearance offers, as seen on TV offers, free trial offers, free offers and more.
  • Holiday Savings: Special holiday pages are created for most major holidays including Christmas, Black Friday/Cyber Monday, Valentine's Day, etc. 
Also unique about Offers.com is that they have a professional editorial team, so instead of just posting deals, they also post general advice pieces daily on their blog such as last minute tax tips, how to travel with kids, spring fashion trends and style advice, etc.

Another cool thing about Offers.com is "My Locker," a free, easy-to-use way to "watch" offers and get updates. Consumers sign up for the type of deals they're looking for, whether it's from a specific retailer or in a specific category. Offers.com notifies you when a relevant deal becomes available, when a deal is about to expire or when changes occur.
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Guest Post: AT&T and T-Mobile Merger: Combat Possible Rising Wireless Prices

by Andrea Woroch
With news of a possible merger between two of the nation's largest wireless carriers and one of the most significant deals since the financial crisis, AT&T and T-Mobile's proposed $39 billion deal have many speculating: will this lead to price increases for cell phone plans and other wireless services?

Although this merger is a winning deal for the two companies involved, financial experts and consumer advocates suggest that there's a potential loser in the outcome of the decision - the consumer.

Don't let the uncertain future of unlimited minute and data plans keep you up at night. Prepare for the possible increase in wireless service prices with these 8 savvy saving tips.

1. Extend Your Family
Family plans are great for any group of reasonably trustworthy people, including roommates, friends and extended family. Members of your plan don't need to be related to receive these money saving rates, but make sure everyone on your plan is trustworthy enough to pay their share of the monthly bill.

2. Switch to Pay-As-You-Go Phones
The New Millennium Research Council says that 25 million Americans could save money by switching to a prepaid phone. Prepaid service companies like Boost Mobile, NET10 and Virgin are more accessible than ever and even major national companies are getting in on the act, crafting reasonable prepaid plans for those who want the reliability of a nationwide network. Some carriers have watered-down versions of other plans, such as the text-friendly T-Mobile offering of $15 per month for unlimited text (but no voice). Others opt for a credit model, where you pay per usage. Rates differ by company, but most charge between 5 and 10 cents per minute or text.

3. Purchase Unlocked Phones
Consider purchasing an "unlocked" phone when switching networks, signing up for a new plan or simply updating your phone. The SIM card (Subscriber Identification Module) isn't associated with one specific provider, therefore these free-agent phones are compatible with any network, allowing you to use them for the service you prefer. Amazon and eBay are just a few of the electronic stores you can purchase an unlocked phone at a very reasonable price.

4. Use Coupon Codes
You can buy unlocked phones online with coupons for Best Buy and TigerDirect from a site like CouponSherpa.com. Don't forget to use a coupon when buying accessories to compliment your new phone.

5. Make the Trade
If you are just looking for an upgrade and your phone still works, check GreenPhone or CellTradeUSA to switch for another model. The trade will cost you, but often you will discover a better deal than purchasing elsewhere. Also, consider CraigsList to purchase from a private individual. But, buyer beware, as electronics purchased from this website come with no guarantees.

6. Download Text for FREE Apps
Texting can cost upwards of $10 per month. Cut your provider out of the picture if you have a smartphone. Download free texting apps like Textfree With Voice for iPhone and chompSMS for Android which also include free voice minutes too. Even though you'll only be able to connect to others who have the app, the savings make it worth convincing your family and friends to try out this new method.

7. Take Advantage of Employer Discounts
Switch to the provider your employer uses if you're not voraciously committed to your current provider. Almost every major carrier offers a business discount that can be applied to personal phones. The only thing required is a valid e-mail address or other form of ID from your employer. From major corporations to school districts, plenty of outfits are part of these programs.

8. Let Go of the Extras & Go Basic
Service providers have started heaping on extraneous fees. Almost any desirable phone these days now requires a data plan in addition to voice, text and other services. The key is leaving all else behind and selecting only what you'll use. 

Consumer savings expert, Andrea Woroch, is available for an in-studio, satellite or skype interview to share savvy cell phone savings tips with your audience. As a media expert source, Andrea been featured on NBC's Today Show, FOX & Friends, MSNBC, ABC News NOW and many more. To view recent interviews or get more information, visit AndreaWoroch.com.
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Words Parents Need to Describe Their Kids

Mothers (Fathers, teachers, etc.) need and deserve an expanded vocabulary because, as it stands, there are no words to describe many of the unique and unusual traits, behaviors and ideas they experience with children in their lives.  So Eric Ruhalter, a tireless philanthropist, made words up. Check these out, From The KidDictionary: Words Parents Need To Describe Their Kids.

OODINI (poo-DEE-nee) n : A baby who has learned how to escape from their crib.
FRIENDSOMNIA (frend-SOHM-nee-uh) n : The lack of sleep that occurs at a “Sleepover.”

UPPTITUDE (UPP tih-tewd)  n : The intense desire to be the one who presses the button in an elevator.
DOMESTIC VIOLATION (doh-MESS-tik  VY-o-lay-shun) v :
The potentially lethal mistake of referring to a stay-at-home mom as someone who “does not work.”
TOYPHOON (toy-FOON) n : Routine recreational activities of children that leave their playroom looking like it was decimated by a hurricane.
GARBOFLAGE  (GAHR-boh-flaj) v : To hide a piece of your child’s artwork under other trash in the wastebasket so they don’t catch you throwing it away.
Also, there are funny videos at the website www.TheKidDictionary.com offering more looks inside The KidDictionary

Eric has appeared on Connecting Women Radio.

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Small Sub & Cookie Coupon

Expiring Coupons (Print ASAP)

Spring Cleaning in the 21st Century

After a long and cold winter season, spring is finally here and that can only mean one thing…. It’s time for everyone’s favorite, spring cleaning! Before you break out the old vacuum cleaner and dust buster, many tech savvy home owners are now turning to their mobile devices to aid in the often daunting task.

With that in mind, Appitalism.com, the first site to combine a social community with an online store to help consumers quickly and easily discover, discuss and download the best digital content for all devices, recommends the following fun and simple apps that will make this year’s spring cleaning a breeze.

  • Clean Freak Cleaning Schedule ($.99 for the Apple iPhone) - Designed by working parents, Clean Freak uses the "divide-and-conquer" approach to keeping the home clean. Break down your chores into bite-sized tasks, and do an item every day. Check an item you've completed off the list, and Clean Freak will show you how many days since a task was last done. Completing all items advances the rotation, and you are able to configure less frequent tasks in the "every 2/4/8 rotations" sections.

  • Organizing Your Home ($1.19 for the Android) - Unless you have some magical powers like Mary Poppins, you know that cleaning and organizing your home at times, is a painful process. With Organizing Your Home, that task will become much easier. Inside you will find practical tips and techniques to rid every room in your house of clutter and keep it that way. 

  • House Maintenance Schedule (Free for the Android) - House Maintenance Schedule" is a calendar application to log date of routine maintenance done to your home, and to remind you about the due date of the next maintenance. As a reference, it also has an easy-to-follow, month-to-month guide for maintenance works needed by you home
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Like CardsDirect on Facebook, Get $10 Off

If you "like" CardsDirect.com on Facebook, you will get a $10 promo code good towards any purchase on CardsDirect site, but hurry as this is a limited time offer.

2/3 of Americans are Currently Dieting: Educated Weight Loss Tips

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that at any time, approximately two-thirds of Americans are on a diet to lose weight. Many of these diets do not provide a balanced amount of nutrients, resulting in dieters gaining back lost weight within two years. Being well-informed about healthy eating guidelines can make losing and keeping weight off considerably easier than following the rules of a restrictive diet. Chicago Healers Practitioner Valerie Early, RD provides easy-to-follow tips for maintaining weight goals. 

·         Pay attention to serving size on nutrition labels—The nutritional information is listed per serving size, which is often smaller than you may think. Be aware of how large one serving is to understand how many calories, etc you are consuming.

·         Look up nutrition facts before going out to eat—Restaurant serving sizes are typically much larger than what you need to feel satisfied and can be loaded with unhealthy fats. Research nutritional information online to make an informed decision. Choose an appetizer as a meal, share an entrée with a friend, or bring home half to eat the next day.

·         Avoid skipping meals—Consuming an inadequate amount of calories can stress the body and lead to unhealthy eating binges later on. Try eating four or six small meals throughout the day to keep up your metabolism and avoid over-eating.

·         Understand general exchange facts in basic food groups:
o   ½ cup of pasta, rice, or cereal, one slice of bread, ½ regular bagel, or a ¼ cup quinoa all equal approximately 80 calories and 15 grams of carbohydrates.
o   ½ cup of fruit, one small piece of fruit, ½ banana or 1 cup of berries all equal approximately 60 calories and 15 grams of carbohydrates.
o   One ounce lean meat, one whole egg, or two egg whites all equal approximately 35-75 calories and 35-75 calories.
o   1 teaspoon of butter or oil equals approximately 45 calories and 5 grams of fat.
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MyView - Get Rewarded For Your Opinion

MyView is a global community of expert individuals who express their open, honest, and valid opinions on a wide range of topics. 

By experts, they mean folks just like you who are knowledgeable or passionate about almost any topic. Gaming. Business. Family. Movies. TV. Books. Technology. You name it.
It's pretty simple. You tell them what you think about stuff like:
  • Never-before-seen movie trailers
  • New tools and solutions for IT Professionals
  • Cutting edge tools and solutions for IT pros
  • The latest fashion trends
  • New video games
  • Health topics
  • Business issues, large and small
  • And much, much more
In return, you earn valuable rewards that you can spend all over the web. Not bad.  Join here.

Coupons to Print

Resource: Totsy for Shopping Needs

Totsy offers moms on-the-go and moms-to-be access to brand-specific sales, up to 80% off retail, just for them and the kids, ages 0-7. These are top brands for mom, baby, and child that we are talking about here. Prenatal care products, baby gear, travel accessories, bedding and bath, children's clothing, toys, DVDs, and educational materials are just a sampling of a selection that promises only the best in quality and designer brands. 

100% eco-friendly: Totsy is the first company in private sales to take on sustainable and socially responsible initiatives in all areas of business. One baby, one tree: With every purchase you make through Totsy, they will plant one tree in the name of your child to help reduce the effects of deforestation. Who says shopping can't save the world?
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Forgiveness: A Time to Love and a Time to Hate

Acclaimed writer, producer and director, Helen Whitney was interviewed on Connecting Women Radio on her new book and PBS mini-series, "Forgiveness: A Time to Love and a Time to Hate" which is going to air in April. 

When you watch this video, be prepared to grab a tissue.

Coupon: Get your free Chili's Chips & Queso

Innovating in Today’s Workplace – A Woman’s Perspective

 In celebration of Women’s History Month, Chevrolet will host a web chat on Tuesday, March 22, with four women involved in the design, development, manufacture and marketing of the Chevrolet Volt, the world’s first electric vehicle with extended-range capability. Pam Fletcher, Teri Quigley, Britta Gross and Cristi Landy will discuss what it means to be a female engineer in today’s fast-paced environment and how the diversity of perspectives brings technology breakthroughs like the Volt to market.

During the one-hour web chat, the women will answer questions, such as:
·         What inspired them to go into engineering and the automotive industry?
·         What challenges exist for women working in the engineering field?
·         How do they balance their personal lives with the demanding schedule of electric vehicle development?
·         What opportunities exist in the automotive industry beyond traditional engineering roles?

·         Pamela Fletcher, Chief Engineer for Volt  and Plug-In Hybrid Propulsion Systems 
Pam ensures the Volt meets customer expectations and business requirements through the integration of its propulsion system components. Pam has three children and grew up in Sarahsville, Ohio.

·         Teri Quigley, Plant Manager at Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly
Teri is responsible for executing   the launch of the Volt on the same assembly line as the Cadillac DTS and Buick Lucerne, including installation of the Volt's unique powertrain. She has four children and two grandchildren and grew up in Dexter, Mich.

·         Britta Gross, Director of Global Energy Systems and Infrastructure Commercialization
Britta meets with governments, utilities, companies and municipalities to help prepare communities across the country to "plug-in ready," not just for the Volt but for the wave of electric vehicles predicted to be on the horizon. Britta has two children.  Growing up, she lived in Kansas City, Chicago, and Baton Rouge, LA.

·         Cristi Landy, Product Marketing Manager, Chevrolet Volt
Cristi is a member of the original Volt concept car team formed in March 2006.  She is a graduate of the University of Michigan.

WHEN:  3 p.m. EDT, Tuesday, March 22

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Resource: HotWire - Travel Deals

Now that Spring Break is here for parts of the US, and summer is just around the corner (think positive), check out HotWire Travel Deals.  This is a great resource to have because you will get first dibs on great travel deals delivered to your inbox. 

Subscribe today to Travel Ticker, Hotwire and increase your chances of getting a deal before it's gone. These include travel packages, hotel, air, & rental cars.
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Ankle Jeans from Old Navy

I was given a sample to get a pair of Ankle Jeans from Old Navy on March 10th. Let me tell you, I was pleased with the customer service.  They were very friendly and helped me find my item. The Ankle Jeans are normally priced around $34.50, but they happened to be on sale.

When I brought the jeans with the coupon to the cashier, she was shocked at how I got free jeans.  I know it looks weird to get free jeans from a clothing store (it is not like it is an every day thing.).

Here is the picture of my Ankle Jeans from Old Navy courtesy of Crowdtap.  You like?

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Guest Post: Walmart Joins Free Ship-To-Stores Trend

by Andrea Woroch

Walmart recently announced it has introduced a program called "Pick Up Today", which allows customers to order a product online and pick it up a few hours later from their local store. It anticipates offering this service at all 3,600 stores by June.

The program is expected to increase store visits -- as it has for other retailers -- usually leading to more sales. Best Buy, for example, offers both store pickup and ship-to-store, in which items are sent directly to a customer's local store for pickup.

The "Pick Up Today" program isn't revolutionary. Sears, LL Bean and several other major merchants already have similar offerings. But Walmart is by far the largest merchant to make the move, setting the bar for its competitors.

Here are details for 10 merchants that offer similar programs that I invite you to share on your website, blog, or with your audience.

1. Walmart
Walmart offers tens of thousands of products online that are eligible for "Site to Store" in the contiguous United States, including furniture, electronics, tires, baby gear and exercise equipment. Many of these items are not regularly available in Walmart stores. Orders typically take 1-2 days to process and usually arrive at the store 7-10 business days later.

2. JCPenney
Most ship-to-store items are delivered free, although heavy or bulky items may have an additional shipping and handling charge. Most orders are available for pickup in 4-7 days, although some exceptions apply. Use the merchants "Store Locater" feature to find the retail outlet that offers JCPenney free shipping to stores.

3. REI
Shipping time for the free "REI Store Pickup" varies, based on the location of the store you select, however it does offer limited tracking of orders. Your item is not eligible for the store pickup program if the option doesn't appear in your shopping cart at checkout.

4. LL Bean
Most in-stock items can be shipped free to the LL Bean store near you within about seven days. Back-ordered items and some products that require special handling (such as furniture, boats, bikes and gift cards), cannot be shipped to a store. The merchant doesn't offer shipping to LL Bean Outlets. In addition to free site to store shipping, there are also LL Bean free shipping codes you can take advantage of for online shopping.

5. Best Buy
Some items are eligible for immediate pickup, while others may be available for free ship-to-shore. Consumers will be notified of pickup date during checkout. Best Buy also offers a "Friends and Family Pickup" that allows you to place an order and have someone else pick it up.

If your product is available in-store at a lower price when you pick the item up, your payment will automatically be adjusted to reflect the lowest available price.

6. Cabela's
The sports giant offers free shipping with in-store pickup of almost any product. In-stock items may take 5-8 business days for delivery. Ineligible products include items shipped directly from the manufacturer, hazardous products and purchases made with gift certificates and gift cards.

7. Sears
Items marked with a "Blue Car" logo are eligible for free in-store pickup. Consumers will be notified when the item is available. Just bring in your email confirmation and credit card for processing at the in-store kiosk or curbside pickup. If your item isn't ready in five minutes, you receive a $5 store coupon.

8. Payless Shoes
Payless offers free in-store delivery via the U.S. Postal Service, UPS and Payless Shoe Source. The retailers shipping system will automatically select the best delivery carrier, based on your location. Delivery services and carriers vary by destination. Your order will arrive in 14-17 days after it leaves the Payless warehouse. A $10 surcharge applies to orders shipped to stores in Alaska and Hawaii.

9. Nordstrom
While all items shown online are available for shipment, many may also be purchased online for free pickup at a Nordstrom store near you. To find out which items are available at your local Nordstrom, select the "Store Availability" filter and enter your ZIP code. Then select a manageable traveling distance for you, from 5 to 100 miles. Click "Go" and you'll see items that are in stock in your region.

Alternatively, look for the "Pickup in Store" button near the "Add to Shopping Bag" button on any item page. You'll be able to enter your ZIP and travel radius and will be notified which stores in your designated area have the size and color you're looking for. Then you let Nordstrom know which store is most convenient for you.

10. Ace Hardware
When an item on AceHardware.com is available for Ship-to-Store, you can save shipping costs by choosing to have your items delivered to an Ace Hardware store near you. You'll be notified via email when your order has left the retailers warehouse. Delivery to Alaska and Hawaii will take approximately 15-35 business days and is available at a 70-percent shipping discount. The Ace Hardware free shipping to store is not available for clearance items and gift cards. 

Consumer savings expert, Andrea Woroch, is available for in-studio, satellite or skype interviews to talk about merchants that offer site to store free shipping. As a broadcast and print media source, Andrea has appeared on ABC News NOW, NBC's Today Show, FOX & Friends, MSNBC and has been quoted by SmartMoney, Kiplinger Personal Finance and many more

hanges to SBA's 8(a) Program are a Boon to Small Business Owners

Today, the Small Business Association’s (SBA) revisions to its rules governing the 8(a) Business Development program go into effect. These new changes will enable more small businesses to qualify for the program and access a variety of business development services, including the opportunity to receive federal contracts on a sole-source or limited competition basis. The changes also strengthen the overall program for existing 8(a) firms so that the benefits go to deserving small businesses.

To help business owners get a leg up on the billions of dollars worth of contracts that are set aside for only 8(a) firms, Lourdes offers the following tips:

  • Explore the 8(a) program to see if you qualify: The 8(a) program is for small firms that are socially and economically disadvantaged. To qualify, a firm can’t exceed a certain size limit, which varies by industry; has to be able to meet certain economic criteria; and show that it is socially disadvantaged, meaning minority-owned or disadvantaged. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov/aboutsba/sbaprograms/8abd/programs/index.html
  • If you qualify, make sure that your financial house is in order: The SBA requires a huge quantity of documentation on every aspect of the business and its owners. They want to see everything, so make sure that your business is being run very cleanly.
  • If you don’t qualify, explore other SBA certifications that give you a competitive edge: The government recognizes a number of small business certifications including Small Business, Small Disadvantaged Business, Service-disabled Veteran-Owned Business and HUBZone Business.
  • If your business is women-owned, familiarize yourself with the SBA’s newly created Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program. A checklist to determine your business’ eligibility can be found on OPEN Forum.
  • Team to help win government contracts: If you are new to government contracting, teaming can help you gain the experience and credibility you need to be awarded more government contracts. With various set-aside contracting programs for small businesses, partnering with an 8(a) or women-owned firm can help increase your chances of winning contracts.
  • For more resources and tips on how to sell to the government: Visit OPEN Insight Guides on www.OPENForum.com/governmentcontracting.


WITNESS THE THUNDER!  Chicago, IL will ROAR and RUMBLE with the nations most competitive MONSTER TRUCKS and FMX Stunt Riders as they storm into The Sears Centre Arena on March 12th and 13th.  See these incredible, high jumping, ground pounding, car crushing, axle wrenching giants race in side-by-side drags, wheelie shootouts, and then go completely bananas with amazing freestyle action during this Monster Truck Thrill Show!   Plus, you can meet the drivers and see the trucks up close at the pre-event Autograph Pit Party on the arena floor for FREE with Ticket.

$3 Off Discount: Use code: "FAMILY". 

FTC: I have been given tickets by the promoter to attend the event.
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New Report Highlights Internet’s Benefits for Women

Numerous studies have concluded broadband is positioned to empower individual users and serve as the basis for fundamentally realigning whole industries. What is notable among all of these important and valuable studies is the lack of a specific focus on how broadband will impact women.

A new report, Winning the Future: A Policy Framework for Empowering Women with Broadband, a joint effort of the National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL) and the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women (NOBEL/Women), examines the importance of broadband to women by highlighting how women are using this technology to enhance family life, improve health outcomes, bolster their family's education, and pursue an array of economic opportunities.

On Wednesday, March 9, 2011, NFWL and NOBEL/Women representatives discussed how women are using Internet technologies and what steps policymakers should take to ensure women are able to reap the wide array of benefits enabled by broadband.  Go here to listen to the audio.
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Chicago Monster Truck Nationals event

This weekend, my family and I will be attending the Monster Truck Show in Chicago.  I have never been to these shows.  My son is super excited to attend.  I will be doing a review.  Look for pictures next week.

Webinar - Small Business Owner Receives Help in Leveraging Teaming Arrangements to Win Contracts

Through the power of collaboration and partnerships as well as developing a subcontracting and teaming plan, business owners can effectively capitalize on the more than $500 billion the U.S. government spends each year in federal contracts. In 2009, the federal government awarded $537 billion in contracts, making it the largest consumer in the world.

According to an American Express OPEN survey, business owners who team up with other small businesses to jointly bid on federal contracts see the greatest results: Two-thirds (68 percent) of active small business contractors who have pursued teaming opportunities have exceeded $1 million in federal contracts won to date, and 38 percent have exceeded $10 million. Also, businesses that partner with a larger prime contractor also report a higher success rate versus the average small business contractor: 61 percent of active small businesses that have performed as a subcontractor report that the total value of all of the federal contracts they have won to date exceeds $1 million, and 31 percent have exceeded $10 million.

As the fourth part of the special hour-long, one-one-mentorship webinars we’ve been promoting the last couple of months, Lourdes Martin-Rosa, American Express OPEN Advisor on Government Contracting, and Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), will help one woman business owner develop an effective strategy for teaming.  These webinars are a part of the Give Me 5 program – a national program by American Express OPEN and WIPP to help women businesses owners access and win their share of government contracts.

Additional information can be found below:

Give Me 5 “Ready For Prime Time”: How to Leverage Teaming Arrangements

Date: Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Time: 3-4 p.m. ET / 12 p.m.-1 p.m. PT
Where: Virtual

Lourdes, who has nearly 20 years of federal contracting experience under her belt, will be able to provide all webinar participants with valuable information for accessing and winning contracts as well as help both small and mid-sized businesses find and market their unique value proposition to potential teaming partners. 
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National Sleep Awareness Week is March 7-13

National Sleep Awareness Week is March 7-13, sponsored by the National Sleep Foundation  as an annual public education and awareness campaign to promote the importance of sleep.

Many people don’t sleep well because of their bed.  We’ve all heard that you should replace your mattress every 7-10 years, but it’s not just because of all the hype about bed bugs, body oils, skin cells and other unsavory things that can lurk in an old mattress, but also because mattresses wear out.  A saggy and unsupportive mattress can lead to back pain, hip pain, shoulder pain and other ailments that add up to a restless night’s sleep.

We took the opportunity to ask experts on sleep and finding the right mattress for you.

Connecting Women (CW):.  How many hours of sleep per night should an adult have? Children? 
Experts vary in their views about how much sleep is needed, but here is a general guide by the National Sleep Foundation
How Much Sleep Do You Really Need
CW:  What are some benefits of healthful sleep? 
When we sleep well, we wake up feeling refreshed and alert for our daily activities. Sleep affects how we look, feel and perform on a daily basis, and can have a major impact on our overall quality of life.   During sleep our muscles repair themselves from day's stress, our brain sorts out and consolidates memories, and our bodies release hormones that regulating growth and appetite. When we sleep well, we wake up prepared for the day, able to concentrate, make decisions, be productive and engage fully in work, school and social activities.
 On the other hand, short sleep duration is linked with:
  • Increased risk of motor vehicle accidents
  • Increase in body mass index – a greater likelihood of obesity due to an increased appetite caused by sleep deprivation
  • Increased risk of diabetes and heart problems
  • Increased risk for psychiatric conditions including depression and substance abuse
  • Decreased ability to pay attention, react to signals or remember new information
CW: How do mattresses affect our sleep? 
A proper mattress helps us to sleep sounder and deeper.  A good mattress has the right amount of softness or firmness to relieve pressure points and support heavier body parts so that we are able to rest comfortably in one position for longer periods of time.
An improper mattress may be too soft or too firm, or a worn out mattress may sag or retain body impressions that cause us to toss and turn in order to get comfortable.   
CW: What are some tips in finding the right kind of mattress? 
 Mattrresses are very individual.   According to Jeff Scorziell, president of Anatomic Global, a leading US manufacturer of memory foam mattresses, many consumers make the mistake of buying a brand name instead of getting a mattress that feels best for them.  Scorziell, who has sold thousands of mattresses as a former retailer, gives this advice:
To test out a memory foam mattress, Scorziell recommends laying on it for at least three to five minutes, as some visco foam must actually be warmed up by your body temperature in order to perform optimally.
“Lay on your back, your side, however you sleep.  Get a feel for the mattress.  Some might feel like wet sand, and some might have a denser feel.  Some are softer, some are plusher.  The feel of the mattress is not necessarily good or bad, just different,” says Scorziell. 

Among the latest innovations in memory foam is the formulation of the visco itself.  Anatomic Global developed a proprietary soy plant-based EcoMemoryFoam that health-minded consumers favor because it contains fewer petroleum-based chemicals.  Not only do these feel better underneath you, they smell better, especially when the bed is new. 
 Another evolution in memory foam is aeration.  Anatomic Global pioneered extreme open-cell technology which offers nine times air ventilation of standard memory foams.  The open-cell foam not only dissipates heat, it is not affected by ambient temperature within 30 degrees, so the bed’s performance does not change when it warms up or gets cold in the bedroom.  
If you prefer a traditional innerspring mattress, the general rule is more coils the better. One mattress maker whose products have been called "fit for a king" owes its hallmark sensational feel to its coils. Not only are E.S. Kluft & Company mattresses made with world-class craftsmanship and the finest materials available, they feature a technologically advanced design. Kluft’s nested, individually wrapped English premium steel springs provide proper balance, true motion separation, correct support and optimum pressure relief.
E.S. Kluft & Company's most celebrated mattress is the $33,000 Palais Royale, an ultra-luxurious mattress hand-tailored by skilled artisans  using the world's finest materialsinlcuidng an abundant blend of cashmere, mohair, New Zealand Joma wool and Talalay latex .  The layers  conform to your body to eliminate pressure points while layers of breathable certified organic cotton prevent heat and moisture buildup for unmatched comfort. These beds feature thousands of premium English springs encased in calico cotton to minimize motion transfer and to provide extraordinary support. Plus, each mattress is hand-tufted and hand-side-stitched to secure the inner layers of upholstery and enhance the overall performance from edge-to-edge. The result is the best of old world craftsmanship and sophisticated new sleep technologies. The Palais Royale is sold exclusively at Bloomingdale’s. 
Many manufacturers are adding adjustable beds to their collections to meet the comfort and lifestyle needs of today's customers.  Those archaic infomercials starring two elderly folk being folded up in an adjustable bed were ahead of their time.  One cutting-edge company, Sapapa by Aminach, offers adjustable beds that are popular with customers of all ages, with features like iPad/iPod plug ins, speakers systems in the headboard and adjustments for comfort for all types of activities, from checking email, e-shopping, watching TV, doing homework, reading or whatever you do in bed.  All of the Sapapa adjustable beds feature orthopedic mattresses with a reinforced middle section to prevent hamocking; plus, these beds are not just incredibly comfortable, they come in high-fashion styles and colors.
CW:  Promote site/service etc. (including social media networks)
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Baby Star's Super Sale

Baby Star is having a super sale on totes at over 60% off! Their signature and stylish rock the tote comes with a wipe case and is the perfect accessory for spring.

Plus there are great prices on bedding, fitted sheets, knit blankets, ruffle skirts for girls and johnny pants for boys.

notes = quantities limited to inventory on hand and please allow for 1 week to ship. no returns or exchanges on sale items.
FTC: I was compensated for this post.
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Buzzed Driving IS Drunk Driving

St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, and it’s not the luck of the Irish that will keep the roads safe – it’s planning ahead for a safe and sober way home.

For many Americans, St. Patrick’s Day has become a popular night out for drinking and celebrating with friends and family.  Unfortunately, some of these people might also be driving home from their festivities and therefore, the night out has also become potentially dangerous.

On St. Patrick’s Day 2009, 37 percent of the drivers and motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or above, according to statistics by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). 

Remember the  importance to:
• Plan ahead and designate a sober driver before you leave for your event.
• Be ready to take alternate transportation such as a bus or taxi. Have the phone number of a taxi service stored in your phone before you leave for the party.
Even if you will not be celebrating this St. Patrick’s Day, keep in mind that in 2009, 1,119 occupants of other vehicles were killed in crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers, so pay attention to others on the road.  And remember, you don’t have to be “falling down drunk” to be too impaired to drive safely. Even a few drinks can impair driving…and a buzzed driving crash has the same consequences as a drunk driving crash.

NHTSA needs your help in keeping the roads safe for everyone this St. Patrick’s Day by spreading the word that buzzed driving IS drunk driving.

Follow Buzzed Driving on Facebook  and Twitter for more information.

Remember: Buzzed Driving IS Drunk Driving. Don't rely on dumb luck this St. Patrick's Day. Plan ahead and ask your loved ones to do the same.

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Survey Opportunity: Toluna Global Opinion Panel

Toluna is a global site for everything related to surveys, polls and opinions! When you become a Toluna community member you enjoy the following benefits:
  • Earn points worth $1 to $5 each time you qualify for and complete a survey! You’ll also earn for the polls and opinion topics you create! Each time you participate in or complete a survey you’ll be entered into a monthly $4500 prize draw!
  • Create your own polls and opinion topics to host on Toluna, or export them to your own blog or website!
  • Voice your opinion by participating in other community members’ polls and opinion topics! There’s no catch! Your membership is free, and all information you provide is strictly confidential and will never be used to advertise or to sell you anything.
As soon as you register, you’ll be entered to win their monthly $4500 cash drawing!
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